Online scams: Bakare, Alimi steal $750K, N120m from BA, KLM, Turkish Airlines

L-R Seun Sikiru Alimi and Tobiloba Ibrahim Bakare

L-R Seun Sikiru Alimi and Tobiloba Ibrahim Bakare in online scams

L-R Seun Sikiru Alimi and Tobiloba Ibrahim Bakare in online scams
L-R Seun Sikiru Alimi and Tobiloba Ibrahim Bakare in online scams

By Moji Eniola/Ikeja

Two online scammers, Tobiloba Ibrahim Bakare and Seun Sikiru Alimi were today sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for stealing $750,000 (N285m) and N120 million from KLM, Turkish Airline and British Airways.

The sentences were summarily handed over by Ikeja Special Offences Court.

The convicts were arraigned on Wednesday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for hacking into the electronic mails of the airlines and stealing the sums.

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo convicted and jailed the duo after they entered into a plea bargain agreement with the EFCC.

They pleaded guilty to the seven-count charge filed against them.

According to the EFCC, the stolen funds were laundered by the duo through First Bank of Nigeria, Sterling Bank and Polaris Bank.

Before their conviction, EFCC counsel, Mr Idris Mohammed, told the court that the offences contravened Sections 411 and 328(1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015, and punishable under Section 328 of the law.

While reviewing the facts of the case, the counsel said that the anti-graft agency had on Sept. 2, 2020, received intelligence about suspicious transactions and money laundering.

He said that it led to an investigation by the Advance Fee Fraud Section of the commission.

Mohammed said that the investigation led to the arrest of one Kehinde Adelakun, who was convicted by the court in October 2020.

The prosecutor told the court that Sikiru’s name and his company, Alvine First Resources Ventures, came up during investigation of Adelakun.

He said that Sikiru operated corporate accounts with First Bank and Sterling Bank.

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“Upon analysis of the two accounts belonging to the second defendant, several inflows were discovered from different companies between March and July 2020.

“They were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.

“Further analysis of the accounts showed that there was a balance of N196.7 million and N9.3 million retained in the Sterling Bank and Polaris Bank accounts of Sikiru.

“The second defendant, when confronted, admitted that the majority of the funds received in his accounts were from the first defendant (Bakare),” the prosecution counsel submitted.

He added that during interrogation, Bakare admitted that from 2009 to 2020, he was into business email compromise fraud.

“Bakare said he hacked into the emails of KLM, Turkish Airlines and British Airways, and in the course of perpetrating the said fraud, benefitted the total sum of $750,000.

” The second defendant benefitted the sum of N120 million through his conspirator, Dayo Bamgbose, who resided in Texas, USA, but is now deceased.”

Mohammed said that Bakare spent his loot on acquiring property, and retained the remaining sum in Sikiru’s account.

Following the defendants’guilty plea and the review of facts of the case by the prosecutor, the judge sentenced them to three years’ imprisonment each.

The judge also ordered that the convicts should forfeit N205 million and other property to the Federal Government.

“The property to be forfeited are Mercedes Benz E500,Toyota Hilux 2020 model, five-bedroom duplex on Ibrahim Beto Street, Osapa London, Lekki, Lagos State, and a four-bedroom semi-detached duplex at Ologolo Jakande, Lekki.

“To be also forfeited is a four-bedroom semi-detached duplex on the Southern View Estate, Mayor Court, Chevron Alternative Road, Lekki, Lagos,” the judge held.